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Movie Reviews by Sarah L. Gerhardt

Gamebox 1.0 (2004) on DVD 2007
PG-13 for violence and some drug content
Running Time: 83 min.
Cast: Nate Richert, Danielle Fishel, Patrick Kirkpatrick, Patrick Cavanaugh, Robert Tena, Patrick Renna, DeVaughn Nixon, Mariana Klaveno
Director: David Hillenbrand, Scott Hillenbrand
Screenplay: Patrick Casey, Worm Miller

Review by Sarah L. Gerhardt


Charlie (Nate Ritchert, Sabrina the Teenage Witch) is a professional game tester dealing with the loss of his girlfriend Kate (Danielle Fishel, Boy Meets World). One day he receives an unexpected mysterious package in the mail. It is a new game console that makes him the star of a series of virtual reality games. The game requests pictures of his friends so that he has some familiarity in the environment. The game reels him in by using an image of his girlfriend and has no desire to let him out of his game. He must finish the game or die in real life.

This subject matter is far from new in the sci-fi universe (movies such as Tron, Existenz, and Video Drone being good examples). But luckily the filmmakers are aware of this and do not take themselves to seriously. There is even a joke in the film referencing a couple of the films I mentioned.

The effects are not very good, it was very obviously done on a low budget, but despite that they were able to get the feel of being inside of a video game down really well.

There are some things done well in this movie that deserve mentioning. The filmmakers had an obvious understanding of how video games work. There were additional hearts for increasing the health level of characters. If a character died in the game you would see the icons decrease in the upper right hand character. The voice-over could only be heard by the player/main character. The special features are extensive and fun. This is always a bonus for me as I love to hear what the filmmakers were thinking in particular scenes.

Though this is probably a movie I would have passed up on the rental shelves (judging a book by its cover I suppose), I don't feel like my time was wasted watching it. I would recommend this film to gamers and cyber-punk fans. Also, if you feel nostalgia for some 90s sitcoms it is fun to see the actors all grown up. If you like B-movie sci-fi, it's not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

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